John 3:1-4 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
1 Peter 1:22-23 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.
A number of years ago I was teaching one of my real estate sales agents named Terry how to get people to like her and trust her. I asked her to list the things that bothered her about sales people she had worked with. Two things she listed that upset her most were that: they made promises they did not keep, and that they often tried to get her to buy something that she did not want or need.
Would you like to understand how to not make those mistakes with your customers, I asked? I said the first principle is to go an extra mile. In other words, whatever you tell people you will do for them, do twice as much. The second principle is called the golden rule. The way you use it in business is before you actually meet with the customer, give them a call and ask a few important questions to help you prepare. What are your needs in a home? What’s most important to you? What don’t you like? What qualities do you look most for in an agent? What ways can I best serve you?
Now, when they arrive, you spend a few moments up front explaining how you plan to deliver all of these things that they have already told you they are looking for … and then you plan to deliver to them twice the service that you promise. And then you ask; Is there anything more I need to keep in mind? I then went on to explain that these sales principles were more than just good ideas from some seminar ... that they were taught by Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago. I then got out my Bible and opened to the specific verses. When you practice these truths I said, you will be bringing the power of God’s word to bear on the issues at hand, and your success will be greatly increased, I further explained.
She looked at me silently for a few moments, and then asked me a question that I loved to hear. “What religion are you; she asked?” I’m a Christian, I replied.” I know that, she said; but what religion are you?” "I don’t belong to any denomination. I have received Christ as my Savior and I follow the teachings in the Bible. Do you go to church; I asked?" "Yes, she said; for over forty years. I’ve never met anyone like you that actually takes the Bible and relates it to selling homes. Your not a born again Christian, are you?" Why do you ask, I said? “Well, because my husband Clint says, that they’re the ones who cheat him at work." Well I said, you know what, it does not matter what I say, or what your husband says, about being born again. You believe Jesus is God, and the Bible is His holy Word, right? Yes. Would you like to see what Jesus says about being born again, I asked? Why of course I’d like to hear. Did Jesus talk about born again; she asked?" I opened my Bible to John 3 and read her the story of Nicodemus. And then I asked Now, would you like to see what the Apostle Peter has to say about being born again? She said; what … he didn't, did he! I said yes, and opened to 1 Peter 1:22 and when I read; “for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God” she asked; why hasn’t my church taught me this? I have no idea, I replied. But the more important question is: what do you think Jesus wants you to do about it? I then told her, you know: Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” You can pray and have the peace he promises you. She said; I am going to go home and think about it. I said; that’s up to you, but if Jesus is speaking to you, here. I would not want to keep our Lord waiting, would you? She paused ... Can I say that prayer, she asked? Of course I said and we prayed together.
This is a true story and was certainly not planned, in any way, by myself, or Terry. Several others were supposed to be at that sales meeting, but their unexplained absence opened the door for this Divine Appointment. God orchestrated the circumstances and the many other verses that we discussed.
Two days later, Terry came into my office. "Clint wants to meet with you she said." Uh Oh ... I thought. But I said sure, how about tomorrow evening after work? Clint came in and he was clearly gruff. He was old enough to be my father. After introductions, I explained to Clint that I had prepared some discussion questions. “If you were to die today, are you certain you would go to heaven, I asked? Yes, he answered. On what basis can you make that claim, I asked. "Because Jesus is the Son of God, and he died on the cross for our sins, He answered. Now what do you believe, he asked me?" It doesn’t really matter what I believe; I said. Do you believe the Bible is God’s truth, I asked?” Yes, of course, he replied. I then asked him to read James 2:19 “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” He got a funny look on his face, as he finished and looked up at me. That’s right I said; the demons understand who God is, but knowing who he is, won’t get them in heaven.” After I repeated this exercise of responding with scripture a couple of times … Clint looked at me and said; "Okay, now let’s put the good book aside, and just talk man to man.” I explained to him, Clint I would gladly do that, but also that both of our opinions gained new power when they were consistent with God’s word. Of course that is why he wanted to put aside the Bible, he realized that he was no match for God’s truth. We parted friends and agreed to meet again in the near future.
A few days later, Terry came in with a big smile, and said to me; Bob, you are never going to believe it. Clint prayed that prayer." I moved away and have not seen or heard from Clint or Terry in years, but I imagine that at this point, the next time I see them will be in heaven. An interesting point is that when we first started talking, I am sure that both of them would have identified themselves as highly spiritual Christians with their forty years of consistent church attendance. I wanted to share this story with you because I wanted you to see the power that God’s word has to change hearts. Both Clint and Terry had spent a lifetime practicing their religion, but it was only when they simply read the clear truths in God’s word did they understand that there is more to Christianity than practicing religion. Please understand that I never implied that Terry or Clint were not Christians before they prayed to Christ. They were both led to make that decision by God’s Word. When witnessing God’s word, it is always best to get out of the way, and let the Holy Spirit speak to the person’s heart. Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit moved on both of their hearts. You would be surprised if I told you their religion. In their case, their religion had not taught them the gospel. The question for you is: are you practicing a religion or have you entered into a relationship with the Creator? “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, You must be born again.” Have you been born again in the Spirit, as Jesus requires?
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
God Bless you my friends, Bob
No Good Deeds, No Good Things #4
2 hours ago